Friday, June 30: Teams and drivers are now making their final preparations for this weekend’s Grand Prix of France, round three of the 2023 UIM F1H2O World Championship.
Two-time World Champion Sami Seliö currently holds fifth in the Drivers’ Championship and has been speaking about his strategy and thoughts on the narrow River Saône circuit in Mâcon.
The Finn said: “It’s a very fast race course. It’s basically a two-pin course. If the conditions are good it will be very fast. But if the wind hits it, it will be very challenging. If the wind hits it, and with the current of the river, it depends which direction from where the wind comes and the boats will make some waves as well. There are also two bridges. If the wind comes under the bridges there will be some crazy places with some more lift and it will be very challenging. The bushes and the buildings on the other side of the river can also affect the course. We saw that last year. There were some tricky moments for everybody.
“You need to do well in the time trials. That is the key. I am very disappointed with what happened in China. My boat broke down and delamination came from the sponson. To get an easy third there would have put me in the championship lead. It is what it is. It’s motor sport and we never know what is happening. We know to push maximum here.”
Mad Croc Gillman Racing’s Filip Roms was the youngest ever driver to start a F1H2O race over 10 years ago and has finished both races this year to hold seventh in the championship. The Finn said: “We got all the technical issues discovered and the props were perfect for the race in China. I can see that I still have the speed. We were able to keep up with the top guys. Here, we will have the same set-up. We will see after the time trials. We need a good position to start. It will be really difficult to overtake anybody. The time trials will tell a lot. We have a good team and everybody has a good feeling.”
The CTIC China Team’s Peter Morin will be hoping to achieve a podium finish at his home Grand Prix. Last year he became the first French racer to reach the top three in a French Grand Prix after 25 previous attempts by local drivers. “We will try and continue this tradition. Let’s see what happens at the weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t make a good job on the last race and were out after seven laps. We have a new boat for the weekend. It is good.
Early on Friday evening, drivers and team managers attended an ITA Clean Sport Workshop before knuckling down to fine tune the boat set-ups before the two 75-minute free practice sessions on Saturday morning, starting at 10.00hrs and 11.20hrs, respectively.
Race officials have now confirmed that three drivers will qualify from each of the two BRM Qualifying sessions on Saturday afternoon. There is a chance that weather conditions could be different for each of the two heats that will feature 10 boats and it was deemed fairer to arrange qualifying in this manner for Sunday’s Grand Prix of France.